Mood of the nation: Six-year high in optimism, CNN poll shows
April 12th, 2013
09:01 AM ET
10 years ago

Mood of the nation: Six-year high in optimism, CNN poll shows

(CNN) – As the stock market continues to show record highs, the number of Americans who say things are going well in the country has reached 50% for the first time in more than six years, according to a new national survey.

But that doesn’t mean the country is entirely out of the woods yet. The CNN/ORC International poll released Friday indicates that an equal 50% say the country is in bad shape.

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“The number continues an upward pattern since the summer of last year, when only 35% were optimistic about the country’s conditions,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

While Wall Street shows positive growth, last month's unemployment numbers showed hiring slowed sharply in March, with the economy adding only 88,000 jobs, the lowest monthly gain since last June.

The unemployment rate still slipped to 7.6%, according to a Labor Department report released last week, but that's because nearly 500,000 people dropped out of the labor market.

Nevertheless, Americans haven’t been this optimistic since January 2007, when 57% felt the country was in good shape. That quickly fell to 48% by April of that same year. For more of the next four years, the figure hovered in the 20’s and 30’s, and stayed mostly in the 30’s and 40’s last year.

Breaking down the new 50% number further, senior citizens and rural Americans are those least likely to give a thumbs-up to current conditions. Those between 18 and 34 are the most likely to be optimistic, with 60% things are going well.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, from April 5-7, with 1,012 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN’s Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK: How happy are you? Add your opinion below.

Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • Economy
soundoff (428 Responses)
  1. Joseph

    Yes, Kelly, the polls are wrong....I bet it is all still wrong on the presidential race and Romney will win.

    April 12, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  2. Fred Phred

    My bank account is at a 6 year high
    My salary is at a 6 year high
    My 401k is at a 6 year high
    S&P – historic highs
    My interest rate on my home – historic lows

    Not too shabby... But you guys keep on pumping the bad news as it keeps me moving up the ladder. See you at the 1% soon enough.

    April 12, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. Daisy Cutter

    Obama is the wisest and best presidnet we have ever had . Our ecomony is exploding with groth , our civil rights have never been more inclusive and even the world respects us more then it ever did when Evil George Bush was president .Obama is the best thing to ever happen to America , look at all the new jobs created , and opportunity and hope is a surprise package behind every bush and cornner ! I love Obama , and you should , too ! Make Obama President for Life , and we will have a great happy future together ! All Praise Obama !

    April 12, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. Keven

    LIES LIES LIES. They must of just asked Mark Zuckerberg's current opinion of the economy, and then published an article about it... The economy sucks, and you're an absolute ignorant moron if you think otherwise. Do your research. People need to wake up, when the unemployment rate is 1% but nobody is working...people may realize that the unemployment numbers are extremely skewed....

    April 12, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. Marcia

    Worried about the government chaning the social security formula to help decrease the deficit. Seniors need their social security more than ever now. Most companies don't want to pay seniors a decent wage. We still have bills like everyone else. When we were younger, we paid into social security so we would have it when we need it which is now!!

    April 12, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. Annie

    Being optimistic about our country and the economy doesn't make me foolish or naive. Unemployment , SNAP & TANF r not handouts . They r not a means of support either! I have been paying taxes since age 15 made 2 unemployment in 35 yrs my first claim pd 65.00 wkly to live on and find another job. Where did all of the money go that i pd go then? To pay past Presidents a salary for the rest of thier lives and babysat by the Secret Service! To me that is a handout American tax payers can't afford.

    April 12, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. ETONE

    I just graduated with debt I took on as a stupid kid after the private school I went to increased tuition past my scholarships *** "sign here"*** The only jobs I see are scams, ones only 40 year olds with tons of certificates, degrees, and experience are qualified for, OR McJobs. Lots and lots of Mcjobs that can only support you if you live next door to work, live with a roommate, and are on foodstamps. The gov cut my jobs. I'm young but I'm not stupid, I won't have a retirement. Anything you put in the bank, with an inflation rate that surpasses the interest rate, your losing money as soon as you make it or try to save it, likely even with a rare matching 401k which will likely be about 12k buying power by the time I "retire". Unless they are trust fund kids or staving off reality by going to gradschool, a lot of my coeds and friends are not in a good "mood" working part time at 7-10/hr or not at all. Both parties are incompetent and many of us young are getting Fed up with the bull about limiting our civil rights and the media bull about the economy getting better, and focusing on distractions. The stock market is a poor indicator of economic health. It is pumped up through derivatives, which are rich jerks gambling on trends in stocks like at the horseraces. <-Youth Mood: Angry.

    April 12, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Bob

    During most of the Bush administration, things were much better than they are now. In fact, GDP grew and the deficit dropped even with the wars UNTIL the housing crisis. That is what led to the tanking economy, ultimately exacerbated by the Wall Street meltdown in 2008. What party was in control of Congress during the good Bush years? GOP. Which party took over Congress during the bad Bush years? DEMOCRATS.

    April 12, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. daman

    they interviewed 1000 people... thats hardly a control group are you serious... this is most bogus article ever..

    April 12, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    "And for 8 years people never said a word about the defecit. The same people are now concerned about their kids and their grandchildren. Where was this concern during the 2 wars where the accounting was kept off the books?"

    Technically speaking, at the end of the Obama second term, we will have seen sixteen years of wasted productivity. Bush's two terms which eviscerated our economy and Obama's two terms wherein the Grand Old Party deliberately chose to stall economic improvement simply because President Obama is ... well, President Obama.

    For eight years, the GOP obstructionists ruined economic growth in America. And, for the next eight years, the GOP obstructionists are hell bent on stopping economic growth.

    No doubt, China is impressed with the Grand Old Party obstuctionists. It is China after all who reaps what our Grand Old Party sowed.

    April 12, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  11. Rob Jones

    You got that right–I sure don't like Obama. Will liberals ever actually hold him accountable for anything? If they won't for Benghazi–for the incompetence, indifference, lies and misguided philosophy that drove the whole fiasco–they never will. Oh, and Hillary is guilty as sin in that affair as well. Americans died unncessarily and Obama LIED.

    April 12, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. BigTBone

    Fred Phred- My life is on a parallel streak. The haters are clueless.

    Unfortunately I've been paying off debt like crazy and unable to inject what I'd normally spend into my local economy.

    April 12, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  13. RJ Kram

    REALLY?!?! Now I know why college grads cannot find jobs .. not educated, at least not on reality. Kids ...WAKE UP !

    April 12, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  14. sonny chapman

    Just think how much higher it would be if the Repubs. loved America more than they hate Obama.

    April 12, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  15. jonnyg

    Another CNN poll to help CNN with it's liberal agenda

    April 12, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  16. jonnyg

    Another C N N poll to help C N N with it's liberal agenda

    April 12, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. Derp

    Oh, does that mean we can stop the $1T in yearly QE?

    April 12, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. Cassarit

    I think this article should convince most people that the remnants of a once free press have by now become propaganda machines fully subordinate to the state. But I'll choose to be optimistic. In the end run, the American people will know what to do with state run media.

    April 12, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  19. Leila Jones

    I think the economy is doing great actually, I 've noticed there are a lot of sales on a regular basis recently and so this must be a very positive indicator of how our economy is consistently improving. However the way the Veterans Affairs is mistreating me as a war veteran is utterly ridiculous. When I call the VA to ask them why was I accepted into the Army being born with Spina Bifida, but I wasn't diagnosed until age 23 and I didn't know it until then, I entered the Army at age 20 they hang up the phone on me and interrupt me when I leave a message, or they just call me back at least a week after I originally left the message. That's 3 years the VA should've told me something about this birth defect before I entered the Army, but they didn't. Now I have Spina Bifida and PTSD (Iraq War). How does the VA treat young people returning from war or is it something they just have against me?

    April 12, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. Hardyman

    I would jump up and down with pure unadulterated optimistic joy but my feet are stuck in the milk and honey flowing all around me.

    April 12, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. Name: Ms. Sherrica Chipp

    I have seen both sides of this situation because of the field that I have always worked in which is Customer Service. The Rich get stay rich and Poor get poorer unless some huge changes as well as agreements are met or get presented in the appropriate forum for discussion as well as questions that need and must be answered for Society and Americans Every Where we need as well as want Our Lives Back JOB Ready is the word for the Family/ Friends better yet Education/ Career Bound is the Goal that should take control of your Mind, Body, Spirit, & your Soul put GOD in your Life you can't be wrong Belief, Hope, Faith & Peaceful Bliss I Pray for All Families Many Blessings Amen Thank you JESUS Hallaujah!!!!!!!!!!;0)

    April 12, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. Gotta Be Kidding

    Are you certain this is not a NBC poll? I do not understand what world you are living in, or who you polled. I live in SE Pennsylvania and it is so rare to hear people speaking in terms of your poll. In fact, the prevailing view is that of complete disgust and frustration with the policies and projections of the Federal Government and Bureaucracies, and only slightly more favorable for our state government.
    We see the excesses of the past, being componded by the xscesses of the present and the future. Continuing our path will inevitably lead us to become another lost civilization.

    April 12, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  23. John

    I'd say much of the credit goes to the media. They lead about half of the country around by the nose so when they say things are getting better, the people say things are getting better, regardless of what the people may be seeing in their own lives. And for the past 4 years or so, all that we've been hearing from the media is about how things are getting better. Of course this is the same media that parroted Barny Frank when he said there was no problems at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae - prior to their collapse.

    April 12, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  24. ThePartisan

    Statistically speaking, a sample size of barely more than 1000 is not significant, therefore the results are not significant. CNN uses their in house methodology to say that this is a national trend, yet offers not proof of who they actually surveyed. This "poll" has no merit whatsoever.

    As to the comments here, this is another example of the media (CNN) not just shaping the debate, but actually dictating it. There only interest is in propagating the belief that Obama has actually done something positive, while in reality there is much more "pain" running through the public that they want you to know. The stock market is far from a reliable barometer of the health of the economy since the average American is not involved with it.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we are not better off than we were 4 years ago. We are not headed in the right direction. We are not progressing, but rather regressing. We are becoming a second tier nation, on a fast track to 3rd world status. This President and his policies have taken us down a road that we cannot get off of, we can only try and reverse course on. He has lead us to the brink of total economic failure, yet he still proposes an untenable and unattainable budget. Impeachment must come soon.

    April 12, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  25. The Dude

    For all you liberal cheerleaders out there. Have you ever once spent time thinking about the Federal Reserve buying mortgage backed securities? Do you know who get this money? Chase, JP Morgan, BoA, hedge funds, the rich and connected elites. You should hate this to your very liberal core, but you don't....

    Millions have left the job force, our deficit is exploding, (you owe ~$35,000 to the China, and the Fed), and real incomes have declined > 5% since 2000. I lived better on $2500 a month in 1990 than I did in 2012 at $6,500 month!

    April 12, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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